As I was about to write this blog entry… seriously, poised with fingers above the keyboard, snappy title in place and a head brimming with peaceful benevolent -isms, in the spirit of Rosh Hashana and the sweetness of a new year and all of Gods sweet new mercies, I received a phone call from my child’s principal and the poop began hitting the peaceful fan.
Websters dictionary defines Mercy as :Forbearance to inflict harm under circumstances of provocation.
I am provoked at at this moment.
It is the compassionate treatment of the unfortunate and helpless.
My child is particularly unfortunate at this moment.
My child made a ridiculously bad choice and the consequences will reverberate for some time to come and I want to lift my face heavenward and scream.
I was prepared to write this post about Thaniel and how he has finally discovered that he is a toddler and he is flexing his autonomous muscles. His ” or what?” Muscles. His “not your way, MY way” muscles. The ones two year olds typically flex, but for Thaniel it took three blissful years for him to find them. I’m guessing the whole low muscle tone of Down syndrome can be thanked ( That was a lame connection, better writers please excuse) I was going to write about how I am learning to juggle mercy with justice for this special little boy, whom I’m tempted to believe might not grasp the correction, until I watch him calculate how quickly he needs to snatch my iPad from my purse in order to run with it, and judge the distance he needs be keep ahead of me in order to escape capture. He’s a smart little 🐒 monkey. Several mommies in the DS club have given me this precious nugget of advice, and that is to not be fooled by Thaniels cuteness or ” specialness ” or pity him for all that is stacked against him, and as such, go easy on instruction and correction. They promise me I will be grateful I was strong 💪 in the long term.
After a particularly difficult morning of negotiations regarding the wearing of shoes versus going out into the brisk morning barefoot, and voting on which one of us was going to WEAR his breakfast ( I’ll give you a hint…it wasn’t him) I came to work and began to make lattes for my co-workers in an effort to shake my mornin frustrations. I find that the quickest way out of myself and into a right spirit and frame of mind is to serve someone else.
Instead of focusing on all the why me’s and the urge to throw myself a pity party complete with cake and matching napkins, I climb out by doing a little mitzvah for someone else. The direction of this blog was going to flow along those lines with a rousing challenge to all in bloggerville to do the same. I had this quaint little version of new morning mercy all bundled up and ready to regurgitate on you.
Ring ring…” hello, annoyingly trite? God on line one for you”
Did I mention the dog 🐶 was sick through the night all down the stairs? That I began the wee hours of this morning scrubbing said stairs… you don’t even know, you weren’t even there, but when I say sick, think south. That pales in comparison now with things being as they are. That was the good part of today.
I had surgery on Friday. That was four days ago. Couldn’t my kid wait a week to throw this curve ball? I’m wearing a mask ( not a metaphorical mask, an actual factual hospital mask) during my classes ( sooooo embarrassing ) because I am absolutely bereft of white cells and can’t afford to get sick right now. Couldn’t my kid see I’m on my knees here and just praying to make it through this season? No. He seemingly lacks mercy. And now his choices are my problem and it matters how I respond. Because I’m a single mom and I have to prove the hype wrong.
But what does God require of me here?
Justice versus mercy.
The bible speaks a lot about mercy. Proverbs says justice and mercy should kiss. (I even tattooed the words on my wrists 12 years ago when I needed the reminder.) The bible says that we should love mercy, act justly, walk humbly. It declares the mercies of the Lord new every morning. Them are some pretty words coming from a book titled Lamentations. Ah Lamentations, what a perfect name for a 📚 book, totally suits my mood today. ‘The steadfast ❤️ love of the Lord is everlasting, His mercy is new every morning’. So if I take Websters fantastic description of mercy and apply it IRL ( in real life… I’m hip) it’s saying that each and every day God restrains Himself from inflicting harm on us even though we have (obviously) provoked Him. That He chooses instead to treat us with compassion because we are helpless and unfortunate. Why?
Why doesn’t He just go ahead and smite us already? I’m sure God saw the presidential debate, what’s He waiting for?
At this point I am dreading the drive home and the inevitable way my blood will slowly heat as I consider what my kid has done , until at last I pull into the driveway where it will have reached its boiling point. I am dreading his possible stupid excuses and the way I will have to bite back my angry 😡 retorts and act like an adult. Mercy is the farthest thing from my mind. Besides, mercy now would be soft, weak , and that is likely what landed me here in the first place.
Why don’t I picture this child 👶🏼 the way I see Thaniel? In Thaniels case, I see him as tiny and sweet and just a little helpless. I have to bring myself to correct him because I know its what’s best for him. In the case of my other child, he isn’t little , his cuteness has somewhat worn off under teenage-ness and he is absolutely NOT helpless. I will have to hold myself back from a heavy duty smite fest, but I am going to yell, loud and a lot!
Half of my anger is tied up in how this kid has embarrassed 😩 me. This stupid choice of his has ‘bad mother’ written all over it and I’m convinced that’s what will be said about me. ” single mom…. unable to control her kids… typical.” Go ahead, call that prideful, but it’s the truth. The other half of my anger stems from hurt and betrayal . I know he knows better, and I can’t believe he’d still chose to hurt 😭 me anyway.
Do we leave God feeling the same way?
Is He embarrassed that we carry His name as we run around all willy nilly messing up His laws and His 🌎 planet and His plan for us, flaunting our bid for independence and daring God to punish us? People are watching and judging Him by the behaviour of His children, of His church and the opinion is often less than favourable. Is He hurt? Grieved because He loves us, His precious creation that He uniquely formed ,invested His own breath and likeness in , provided for and taught, only to have us scorn His way and stubbornly chose our own. Is He angry?
I think I found my answer as I drove 🏡 home and let the realities of mercy wash over me. The truth is God sees us as I see Thaniel, small ,helpless and lovingly made in his image, He sees us as I see my other child, growing, wayward, stubborn. And He sees us the way He sees me, lacking the answers and means with which to cope. He’s moved to compassionate love in every way He views us. We are His children. So here is a little tid bit of truth regarding mercy that God showed me today.
Mercy holds back when it could unleash. It’s not weakness, it’s controlled power.
As for our sin… that He views the same way that light views the dark. It doesn’t. They can’t inhabit the same space. They have no relationship with one another. It’s not poetic, there is no shadow, no shading. It’s not that God won’t tolerate our sin. He CANNOT. He is Holy .
The choices are all ours.
We have everything we need in Him. We are loved, provided for, accepted, healed and restored. We can choose to live in His abundance and freedom and infinite mercy morning after new morning. But we can’t bring our sin with us. We can’t have it our way and stil have a right relationship with Him. Simple pimple.
It would grieve my heart to no end if I ever had to shut my 🚪door on one of my children, or to tell them they have no home with me. In fact I cannot fathom it. I understand now that I never have to. As I drove and God spoke to my heart, my anger melted away into realization. I didn’t have to yell, didn’t have to be bent and angry. It’s not my choice. It’s my child’s. I hold the door always open, my home forever filled with love, acceptance,provision and security. But son, you can’t bring your bad choices with you. As long as you understand, the choice is yours.
And you can’t play with my iPad either. 😊
Ps. I’ve only just discovered these 😜 Silly 😝 Emoticons and it’s like having a surprise party 🎉 with just me and my tablets word suggestion bar. The highlight of my day was not spilling ☕️ on myself, so just deal with it ok?